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Over-Achiever spec?

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I'm working on a Mage alt (87 now) and I've been grinding up as Frost.  I'm not maxxed out on skill capacity yet, but I think I'm around 80-90% as the spec is pretty basic with some whack-a-mole procs thrown in.

 

I have two questions:

 

1. Is there a higher skill cap/reward spec currently or do many people stick with Frost because it's easier?  (similar to Destruction Warlocks)

 

2. I just learned Alter Time last night, so could I get a rundown on the best way to make use of it?

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Frost isn't easier at all. The entire mage class is easy compared to warlock.

 

But it's easy to a point, also like lock. You'll find frost is a timing thing, and deciding what to use before movement. Arcane isn't particularly rewarding and you spend more time focused on your charges and movement than anything. Fire is the easiest now that combustion has been nerfed. You can't screw up fire, but it can screw you up.

 

All three specs rely on snapshots and alter time usage to do well.

 

You understand snapshots already. Alter Time is choosing the most critical buffs and extending them by 6 sec. You want this to always include icy veins and your potion. It should hopefully include trinket procs, meta gem, jade spirit, lust, or any other buffs. Doing so pushes your DPS so far because those buffs aren't designed to last 6 sec longer.

 

Frost doesn't build towards anything. Frost wins on damage meters when you've flawlessly used every Frozen Thoughts on an ice lance, missed 0 brain freeze procs, and kept your uptimes perfect. Good, steady snapshotting and you're golden.

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Well once you can get gear all three specs are viable.  

 

Fire has a reward mechanic in combustion and big crit #s.  Combustion can be very nice when you can spread them (Opening of Shamans comes to mind).  The downside is that fire is still pretty gear dependent in that you need a lot of crit from gear and gemming before it can become reliable by any means.  Its tough to built around a spec that most of its main abilities revolve around the most rng secondary stat in crit, but once you get gear, its fun.

 

Arcane can be extremely strong (The strongest in ideal settings, but hard to execute flawlessly with heavy movement in some heroics) too in settings where a lot of movement is not involved (Normal modes mostly with some select heroics...also blah for leveling imo).  Another plus is that as far as secondary's go, they are close to what frost likes so it is a natural off-spec for frost which is nice since arcane can do very well in 1-3 target fights that have low movement with arcane barrage cleave.  With a heavy mastery build there is definitely a high perceived "reward" mechanic in keeping your mastery at high levels, but the rotation is pretty simple now since they removed scorch weaving (I think 5.3) and added in the basic required arcane barrage at 4 stacks.  IMO I find this the least satisfying spec, but that's just me.

 

Frost is the do it all spec.  It can be good for every type of fight.  It can be strong in aoe, single and multiple.  It can be very fun too since it seems like you gain a brain freeze or FoF proc about every couple seconds so things are constantly lighting up.  There is debate about the haste vs mastery points at certain ilvls, but might want to hold off on those until you are further a long.  I do not think it is that "rewarding" of a spec but I still find it to be the most "fun" spec.

 

In terms of rewarding/skill cap I would say its all pretty even to be honest. Just remember to snapshot your mage bomb with strong procs like a short duration doom as a lock.

 

All three specs are pretty close in dps, especially since bomb damage has been buffed so the three specs natural abilities outside of their individual CDs are fairly even.

 

In terms of fun (IMO) I would say Frost > Fire > Arcane

 

For Alter Time, the basic goal is to use it ONCE your procs occur.  You want to see as many procs as possible up, pop Alter Time and continue with rotation for that spec.  Essentially Alter Time will extend those procs for 6 seconds longer if done correctly.  The worst thing to do is pop Alter Time before strong procs may occur.  If a proc occurs in Alter Time you will lose it upon Alter Time ending.  

 

Obviously each spec treats AT a tiny bit different so for 1. you want as many trinket, profession, etc. procs up regardless of spec and then....For frost you want to have FoF and BF procs up...For arcane you want 2 arcane missile procs up (and remember to barrage right before AT ends) and for Fire you want a Heating up and Pyro! proc up in ideal situations.

 

The AT on the pull will always line up with procs and the subsequent ones should line up with a few.  I wouldn't delay it to wait for a set amount of procs since almost all of the specs will have their personal CD (Frozen Orb, Arcane Power & Combustion) up to use in conjunction with AT.

 

*Basically what Akraen said since he explained in about 1/3 of the words.

Edited by Drafty53
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Cool that makes me happy.  I actually kind of enjoy Frost, especially the new Mastery.

 

So Alter Time is really just a buff extender with a twist?  Does it affect time left on CD's?  Does it increase the time remaining on bombs?

 

Also, Frozen Thoughts?  Oh that's a set bonus, word.

 

Thanks for the responses!

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Yes, Alter Time is basically a buff extender, or alternatively it can be a good survival cooldown as well.

 

Alter time snapshots your buffs, some debuffs, health, mana and position.

 

Example:

You have 100% HP 100% mana, Heroism, Trinket 1 with 20 seconds, Trinket 2 with 4 seconds and potion.

You use Alter Time, you snapshot these.

 

The time will still go on blahblah, but when the 6 seconds of Alter Time expires or you cancel it, you will get back to the position where you used it with the same buff, so to

100% HP 100% mana, Heroism, Trinket 1 with 20 seconds, Trinket 2 with 4 seconds and potion.

 

It does not affect time on CDs.

It does not affect bomb uptime. On the buffs on YOU.

 

 

Important thing to note about Alter time is, that you can screw it up or even someone else can screw it up for you.

 

1st usual mess up is:

 

You use Alter time, then someone else uses a heroism. Alter Time expires, your heroism buff goes away, but your debuff of heroism stays. This is the most annoying I have to say.

 

2nd mess up..

 

You pop alter time.. 1 second later, Lei Shen casts Lightning Whip just where you are standing.. You move out... Alter Time expires, baammm you are back in the lightning whip dead.

To avoid this, you can use Alter Time again early to cancel it's effect. Of, if even this would be dangerous as well, I have a Cancelaura macro for Oh Shit! situations like this situation.

#showtooltip
/cancelaura Ice block
/cast Cold Snap
/cancelaura Slow Fall
/cancelaura Alter Time

Although this is not ideal use, a dead DPS is no DPS...

 

Frozen thoughts is the 2set bonus of the current tier. I just covered its usage in another topic recently, you can freely have a look at it :)

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Yeah I remember having a lot of rage ensue when our Mages kept blowing us up in the pools on the first boss of ToT because it messed with the debuff.

 

I feel like Alter Time single-handedly makes the class far more complex.  Not having played Fire yet, I don't even want to think about how to optimize it with Combustion.  tongue.png

 

Thanks for that Oltier.

 

Another thing.... anyone have some badass Weak Auras I can steal or highly recommended add-ons?  I've been getting by with a few Weak Aura strings and Affdots on my Warlock and I don't feel like I'll need a whole lot as Mage either.  Mostly just shiny CD tracking.

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Also yes, I did read that thread about the 2pc.  It lined up pretty well with my thoughts, which is to always keep one FoF pooled for the 2pc.  It's nice to have one pooled anyway in case you need to move quick.  One thing I didn't understand though is your mentioning of Frost Orb to get a FoF in reaction to FT.  I'm under the impression that you want to use Frost Orb on CD, barring some phase transition or if you know trinkets/CD's are nearly ready.

 

That leads me to another question:

 

Does Frost Orb snapshot or do the Frostbolts it sends out update dynamically?

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Cool thanks.  Two less things to worry about.  :)

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I'm still in quest greens and normal dungeon blues, so I would say my gear is too much in flux for it to be a factor right now.  ;)

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Oh I know, you're not in the world of breakpoints yet.

 

But for leveling it's good to try to aim for as much haste as possible. You won't get much, but prefer it.

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Haste is king with Mages unless Fire or what?  When do you worry about GCD capping?  I suppose as Frost with the Icy Veins glyph you don't have to as much, but still, Frost uses a lot of instant casts, negating some of what Haste helps to do.  You also only have one DoT, so I guess I'm a little confused about the focus.

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Haste is king for frost only. Well, arcane could use it as well but it's not ideal.

 

It is the most valuable stat until the GCD cap, where Mastery starts to pull over slightly but they are almost equal.

 

GCD capping is at 14242 haste points with Frost armor, haste buff, and legendary buff.

 

Most of your damage will come from Frostbolt casts. The more Frostbolts you cast, the more Icicles, BFs, FoFs you generate which is very good for you obviously. In addition, it is true that we have only one dot. But that one dot scales incredibly well with haste. An example: On 10m HC Fallen Protectors, 30% of my damage came from Nether Tempest.

http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/b9gf5p880z80qk9n/details/0/?s=3686&e=4288

 

This is why in Akraen's advanced frost mage guide, the Haste build is the best on multidot fights. Even if I just kept up my NT on targets, I wouldn't have been the last on DPS in that case.

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Cool, thanks for the response.  I'm glad NT is dominate, it's easily one of my favorite Mage spells.  :D

 

While leveling it's fun to slow kite a ton of mobs while NT is throwing up missiles all over the place.

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Cool, thanks for the response.  I'm glad NT is dominate, it's easily one of my favorite Mage spells.  biggrin.png

 

While leveling it's fun to slow kite a ton of mobs while NT is throwing up missiles all over the place.

Exactly :D A little additional trick: If you Freeze them with pet or Frost nova, and THEN you apply NT, the NT will crit almost 100% of the time. :P

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Whaaaaaat?????

 

I thought that only affected frost spells........  excellent........

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Three small things I'd like to add:

 

1. You can /cancelaura on AT if someone used hero while you're at it. You'll loose the extra 6 seconds on the buffs and saved procs but retain hero.

2. Fire is a little different than arcane and frost in the way that you shouldn't focus on snapshotting your bomb. You need to keep it up for the debuff, but don't clip your bomb too early or anything. Pushing more pyros is more worthwhile than refreshing early. Also, 2pc bonus for fire helps a little with that because many times after three pyros the bomb will be close to running out so you can refresh it then. It's not too much, but definitely something.

3. 4pc is pretty much a must to play fire effectively.

Edited by lynx
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Question on Alter Time, because I have a 'mild like'/hate relationship with it.

 

Given that I have noted above that you can cancel AT with a /cancelaura and that I don't have a PBI yet, how do you all react to the occasionally delayed PBI proc?  On my Warlock it destroys my opener, but with Alter Time I can see it being even more frustrating.  Let's say you're a Troll as well, would you delay Berserking and until it procs?

 

It's nice to get an extra 6 seconds, especially if I were a troll that's huge, but having to worry even more about lining things up is a nightmare sometimes.  How doth peeps cope?

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I don't AT based off PBoI because it's unreliable.

 

If PBoI doesn't proc at the start of a fight, I just cry and consider it a wash of an attempt.

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I don't AT based off PBoI because it's unreliable.

 

If PBoI doesn't proc at the start of a fight, I just cry and consider it a wash of an attempt.

Yes, I would do the same. If a buff doesn't proc in the first few seconds, I just use AT and go on normally.

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Sometimes it doesn't proc during the 6 sec before snapback from AT.

 

Then I wipe away the tears and salvage the attempt.

 

I hate trinkets. It's bad design.

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Apparently AT was designed as a defensive spell, but we're using it offensively so it's all flogged up.

 

So let's say PBI doesn't proc right away.  You use AT, then it procs immediately.  What then?  /Cancelaura and move on?  I've had people Bloodlust right after I hit AT and it makes me want to bite a squirrel.  One of the bad squirrels that deserve it, mind you.

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I don't cancelaura, 6 sec of everything else > 20 sec of pboi

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